Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 15:25 (211 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Can't you remember, I have constantly stated my view is that the complexity of the brain allows the soul to deal with more complexity of concepts
And: soul produces only as much complexity of thought as the complexity of the brain it is using allows it to do.

dhw: I don’t understand what this means. Please tell us if you think it is the brain or the soul that produces ideas. Which controls which? I suggest that if there is such a thing as a soul, it would use the brain (a) to collect information, and (b) to implement its ideas.

Same as always: My soul/consciousness uses my brain to create thought. The level of complexity of that thought is dictated by the complexity of the brain .

dhw: The artifact cannot appear until the concept has been IMPLEMENTED! ... First the idea, then the complexification or expansion as a RESULT of implementing the idea.

DAVID: Throwing out a big term like 'implementation' is not an explanation unless implementation is described and shows how it enlarges the brain.

dhw: Implementation means performing all the necessary actions to enable an idea to become reality. Our known examples have been illiterate women, taxi drivers and musicians, all of whose brains change as a result of performing the actions that enable them to acquire new or more advanced skills. I can’t explain the process by which the brain expands, and nor can anyone else.

You are back to using our current endpoint brain to explain earlier ancient Home enlargements.


DAVID: My version: an early Homo knows he can kill with a thrown stone or with a sharpened stout stick. He already uses sharpened stone tools to skin animals and scrape bark off wood. His present brain realizes if he put a sharpened stone on the end of a long stick, he could throw this new invention and kill at a distance. Making the new concept is easy hand work. Why does this enlarge the existing brain that thought up the new tool? It obviously does not. A simple advance from known concepts combined.

dhw: You adopted my example and wrote that “the spear is invented only after the brain is already expanded”. So you clearly thought the invention required expansion. If you wish to jettison what became your own example, then please tell us what new concepts you think made it necessary for your God to expand the pre-sapiens brain in advance by 200 cc at a time. But whatever you come up with will still be open to the same interpretations because we can only know the material product and not the history of its conception!

The second bold does not answer my point that an earlier brain cannot conceive of an idea it is not capable of conceiving. You don't answer why we see bigger brain and only then improved artifacts, which always follow the appearance of the bigger brain. Only the bigger brain can conceive of the newer advanced artifacts. Your version: tiny brain conceives of newer artifact possibility, but must expand to create it! What a stretch!.


DAVID: In your example the old smaller brain gets the idea for something important and new but can't do it until it explodes itself. To clarify my thinking, 'bigger' brain always implies a more complex brain for the soul/consciousness to use.

dhw: The expansion is the same, whether your God dabbled in advance of the need or the brain cells expanded in response to the need. I don’t find your last comment clarifying at all. More cells will certainly lead to more complexity, but if the soul (if it exists) is the source of ideas and comes up with new ones that the bigger/more complex brain can’t handle, then the brain will have to expand again. However, you believe that although the soul comes up with the ideas, these are limited to what the material brain “allows” it to come up with. (See the beginning of the post concerning this problem.)

DAVID: Our more thoughtful brains have shrunk, the only example of your theory we have! We do see local enlargements. but that is an attribute of our advanced brain, no basis for applying it to previous lesser brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

dhw: You have already agreed that our brains have shrunk as a result of the efficiency of complexification. The evidence we have is that brains change in response to new requirements. There is no evidence that it was any different in past brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

But, the jumps in the past were enlargements of 200 cc. Our brain shrinks and their brains jumped in size. Did they have a degree of plasticity, probably, as a forerunner of ours, but a lesser ability as consistent with the earlier brain's simplicity. My view is consistent: a brain that allows the development of a spear concept will be able to create that physical spear and will not need enlargement. Level of concept must be strictly related to level of brain capacity. An earlier brain cannot conceive what an more advanced brain can conceive and create.


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